P.T. BARNUM - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 05/06/1871 - HFSID 254644
Sale Price $2,040.00
The master showman writes of a visit by his friend Horace Greeley.
ALS: "P.T. Barnum", 2½p, 5x8. New York, 1871 May 6. To Mary. In part: "It would have done you good to have heard Mr Greeley as I did a dozen times after you left on thursday morning, say 'I am so glad these ladies came here' then by & bye he would break out with 'I think these ladies enjoyed their visit to New York'...then...'I began to think they would not come at all and I was about going to Texas, so I thought we should not see them.' He stayed in all the day till 3 or 4 oclock, and the first thing he said after dinner upon coming into my library was 'Well I am very glad those ladies had such a nice time'...so you see that the 'philosopher' is susceptible, and you & Mrs Thomas are deeply inbedded in his affections. As for myself, although pretty busy during your visit, I enjoyed it very much, and our house has seemed too lonely since you left. Mrs B. was quite favorably impressed, and although never demonstrative, has several times spoken of it as a pleasant visit. I fear you had a wet and disagreeable time getting home, but hope it will not dampen (stick up your finger!) your courage so as to prevent your coming again. It would be a double pleasure if you would visit us in Bridgeport this summer. Will you do so if Mr. Greeley will come at same time? If you say 'yes' we will try and have Mrs Thomas also & thus renew the pleasures of last week in another shape." HORACE GREELEY, who founded the "New York Tribune" in 1841 and served as its editor for 31 years, was a personal friend of Barnum. A year after this letter,Geeleyran for President on the Democratic and Liberal Republican Party ticket against incumbent Ulysses S. Grant and would lose. His wife, still alive at this time, had been sick for years. So a time with "the ladies" probably lightened Mr. Greeley's heart. In June 1869, Barnum and his wife had moved into their new home in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he spent five months of the year. He spent the rest of the year in his mansion in Murray Hill in New York City. On April 10, 1871, less than a month before writing this letter, Barnum opened his newly organized three-ring circus in Brooklyn. In 1841, the master showman had founded the American Museum, which showcased such oddities as Tom Thumb, Siamese twins Chang and Eng and Jumbo, the world's largest elephant. The American Museum, which reached the height of its popularity in 1851, was totally destroyed by fire on July 13, 1865. The event was covered in the "Tribune" and prompted this advice from Greeley: "Accept this fire as a notice to quit, and go a-fishing." Barnum, of course, did not take the advice, but instead entered into one of the most successful phases of his career -- the circus. Lightly creased. Light yellow stains on signature page, not touching signature. Fine condition.
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